before and afterDIYdiy projects

before and after: candelyn’s lamp (with instructions)

by Grace Bonney

d*s reader candlyn sent in this fun lighting before & after, complete with instructions! using a thrift store lamp, a little spray paint and some good old fashioned elbow grease she created something perfect for her daughter’s room. want to do something similar? click here (or just click “read more” below) for candelyn’s instructions and process images.

How Candelyn Made Over her Thrift Store Lamp:

1. I primed and painted my old lamp with a “hammered metal” spray paint.

2. In order to build a new shade, I cut the top circular wires off of two lampshades to create a stable structure for the new shade material.

3. I cleaned all of the old tape and fabric off of the wires.

4. I broke the middle wire out of one of the wire circles with a pair of pliers. This became the bottom wire of the new lampshade.

5. I then spray painted both the lamp and the shade frames a black “hammered metal” finish.

6. Next I cut two pieces of poster-board the right width for the height of the lampshade. Then I taped them together with fabric adhesive tape to create the inner layer of the lampshade

7. Then I measured carefully for the diameter of the circle and cut the white paper to be the outer later of the lampshade. Then I drew on the design with a paint marker.

8. After I was satisfied with my design, I applied more adhesive tape around the top and bottom edges, clipping along the edges so they would tape smoothly over the wires. It took a little adjusting, but when the wires were just right, I folded the tape over and smoothed it down.

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  • That is a really great tutorial and the timing is perfect for me. I was looking for this just yesterday.

    Also, the finished product is great!

  • Thanks! I’ve always wondered how to do this and have been hording lampshades in hopes of figuring this out some day.

  • Is there any place that teaches how to electrify a lamp? I wanted to electrify a big bottle I have but know nothing about electrcity:/

  • I bought a couple of lamp bases at a thrift store a few months ago and want to make lamp shades for them. Drum lamp shades in the size I need are pretty spendy when you buy them retail. This post is just what I’ve been looking for!

  • I have a very similar lamp and I’ll be painting the base black as well. The problem is the electric cord is a really ugly grey-brown colour. Can I pain the cord with spray paint?

  • Wow, I’m so complimented by everyone’s comments. Thanks!

    Sofia, I think you can get lamp kits at your home improvement store. Not the repair kit, but a “make a lamp” kit. Or maybe you can just use the repair kit. You will probably have to drill a hole in the bottle and find a way to attach the light bulb holder to the top. There’s a special knot you have to know how to tie in the wires, but it should come with instructions and I know there are some instructions on the web.

    Annelies, my cord was ugly brown, too–I decided to just keep it because it wouldn’t show. But you could replace the inner workings of the lamp with a black-corded lamp repair kit. It’s probably safer, too, if your lamp is very old. I’m sure you could spray paint it, but it would probably flake off over time because the cord is so flexible.

    Thanks again for the nice words. It really wasn’t that hard, so I hope you will all try it!

  • Instead of a table lamb I’m wondering if this will work with a ceiling light fixture.

  • Great how to details. I’m thinking of trying to use this and replace a ceiling light shade/cover. what do you think?

  • Thanks! This is great. Wondering where you got the fabric tape? Is it like hemming tape?

  • Hi Candelyn,

    Do you know a formula for determining the size of a drum shade in relation to the size of the lamp? thanks,